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“Amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of L'Imbuto

L'Imbuto
Via Della Fratta, 36, 55100 Lucca, Italy
0583 491280
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Ranked #8 of 406 Restaurants in Lucca
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Scandinavia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

Went there on my own for lunch, and had a couple of great culinary hours. To me, it seems like they/him (Christian Tomei) try to build on traditions, but in i highly innovative way. And it tastes great.

Also, Tomei himself and the waiter I had that day, where really nice people. All in all an amazing experience. I will come back. This place is worth travelling for.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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293 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
The Potteries
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“High quality, inventive food - but also fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

Having spent what seems like a lifetime trying to find decent catering in any museum in the UK, we were intrigued to discover what was offered by L'Imbuto, which is housed in Lucca’s Centre for Contemporary Art.
We were enthralled from the amuse bouche (a miniature fish-burger complete with carton) onwards. Each course – we had the four course menu, but the chef has an imaginative approach to mathematics, and the total was more like seven - was a delight. The virgin olive oil ravioli parcels, which burst in the mouth, were particularly memorable, but each dish was inventive, beautifully presented and delicious. Above all, the food is fun, and we really enjoyed the beetroot and chocolate mousse, served in a terracotta flowerpot complete with a sprig of dill.
The service is exemplary, the quality of the food is excellent, the wines are reasonably priced, and the chef is an artist in his own right.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marlborough, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
189 reviews 189 reviews
122 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
“Amazing Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

First things first - the location is inside the Centre for Contemporary Arts so find this and you find L'Imbuto. Find L'Imbuto and you will find something very special. This is a restaurant heading for great things and a chef who could well become a star. The restaurant is inside an art gallery with the food being something that could be on show alongside the other works of art.
We were offered a choice of 4 (40 euros),6 (60 euros) or 9 course (90 euros) Tasting Menus. And that was it - what arrived would be for the chef to decide and other than taking account of personal preferences or allergies, we sat back and waited.
The Tasting Menu is really tapas Italian style - small dishes that take their inspirations from Tuscany (land and coast) but which offer a twist to the traditional hearty Tuscan fare. A taste explosion awaits you !! How best to describe the food ?? Inventive, suprising, witty, exciting, quirky, innovative, funny, stimulating and above all full of flavour. I ate our of flower pots and burger cartons and had beef off a pine log with potato skins posing as beef fat. Prepare your sense of humour.
It is worth pointing out that the chef can't count (thankfully) - our 6 courses became 7 and that was before the three deserts, so 10 in total. Space in this review is limited but to give you a clue: red mullet, a fish burger, mackerel, ravioli, spaghetti, lamb, beef, panacotta, chocolate/beetroot, creme brulee. All followed by a complementary local liqueur.
Some dishes amazed and yes a couple disappointed but we will forgive that; this is cooking at its most inventive, most inspirational and most skilled best. Book a table before the crowds arrive.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Impressive taste, sublime combinations, surprises and delights”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

I looked up the best restaurant in Lucca and asked our guide, both said L'Imbuto, so a booking was made.

We were the first patrons on a Friday night and the air con environment was a welcome respite from the torrid heat and humidity of the Lucchese evening air.

Recently moved from Viareggio, Chef Cristiano Tomei has set up his restaurant in the Lucca Museum of Contemporary Art, where the artwork on the walls might well be eclipsed by those on the plates.

Hailing from a coastal town, the chef's emphasis was on fresh seafood, starting with a surprise course of miniature hamburger, however, instead of red meat, the tiny crusty bun held a carpaccio of Amberjack steak, with a concentrated purée of tomato, over a vegetable compote.

From there, each course was a delight, some more than others, and my partner and I both loved the virgin olive oil ravioli parcels, which burst in the mouth and flooded the taste buds with a light and tangy olive oil, complimenting the tiny cubes of warmed over cuttlefish.

The other favourite of the night was the olive oil mousse with cream and apricot compote, which was so light and delicate, melting away in the mouth to leave just a subtle blend of refreshing flavours.

Having visited some excellent restaurants in the UK this year, I will happily say that this has eclipsed them all and we will be returning to sample the delights offered by the outstanding chef and his team. Food at this level should always be fun and Chef Tomei's enthusiasm is reflected in his artistry.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Droitwich, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Not typical tuscan- but excellent, high-end gastronomy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

First of all it took us 3 attempts to find this restaurant. It is in fact located within the Lucca Centre for Contemporary Arts, half-way up the Via Fosso. But there is nothing from the outside to indicate that the arts centre contains a restaurant, but fortunately the receptionist in our hotel (Hotel Ilaria) knew the score. It was well worth persevering! This is definitely not typical hearty Tuscan fare- it is inventive, high-end gastronomy. There is no menu as such, when you arrive you are invited to choose from 3 'menus', 40, 60 and 90 Euros, for 4, 6, and 9 courses respectively. We chose the 40 Euro menu, but I think we actually had 5 courses, plus 2 dessert courses! Having chosen a 'menu' there is no choice- it is what the chef decides to provide on the night, although you can indicate if there is anything that you cannot eat. The quality of this place lies in the inventiveness and flavours of the food, served in small portions. Particularly memorable was chef's version of 'fish and chips'- complete with pea puree (a take on 'mushy peas') and a tomato salsa (cf. tomato ketchup). But this dish was a million miles from the typical fish and chips from, say, a British fish shop- the flavours and textures were exquisite. The real star of the show however, was the olive-oil filled ravioli- which just melted in the mouth with the lovely warm, grassy oil- very inventive fare. The wines are all reasonably priced, the service faultless, and the whole experience was quite wonderful.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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